inessential by Brent Simmons

Swift 1.2 Beta

I didn’t expect to see this much improvement before WWDC. I’m very pleased.

Having accepted that Swift is Felix Unger to Objective-C’s Oscar Madison, I welcome changes that make Swift’s persnicketiness easier to satisfy.

My favorite change may be the improvements to if let. In the past, you’d write something like this:

if let a = foo() {
  if let b = bar() {
    doSomething(a, b)

Now you can write:

if let a = foo(), b = bar() {
  doSomething(a, b)

(And more: you can include conditions with a where clause.)

So simple, so welcome.

I’m not sure what I think about the new annotations for Objective-C: nonnull, nullable, null_unspecified, and null_resettable.

On one hand it’s a leakage from Swift into Objective-C — as if Felix is wearing down Oscar until he gives in and picks his clothes off the floor and washes his hands 50 times a day. And it’s not like this has ever been a problem for me in Objective-C. (Objective-C’s nil-handling behavior was a delight when I switched from C, and I still like it.)

On the other hand, maybe I’m worn down a little bit too, and I don’t mind if the tools help ensure that my code matches my intentions. Most likely, though, I’ll use these only with Objective-C code that Swift needs to know about, because it will make things easier when writing Swift.

There are a bunch of other solid changes: read the release notes if you haven’t already. The day when I’m writing most code in Swift has just gotten closer.

With all the great things, we’re still not at Swift nirvana. I checked one of my favorite examples: impathic’s one-liner that takes 40 seconds to compile. It still takes about 40 seconds. But, well, that’s software development for ya.

PS Swift has a Set type now! I love sets. Use ’em all the time.